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Supporting a Quality and Safety Culture Across Your Business – Your FAQs

Sean Salvas
by Sean Salvas on Wed, Nov 08, 2017

The questions you’ve always wanted to ask about the role of quality management systems and processes in underpinning quality culture across the enterprise

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At EtQ, our customers are some of the world’s best known organizations. We work with leading practitioners in the fields of quality management and environmental, health and safety. We also talk with business leaders anxious to instil quality culture and sustainability across the enterprise. Here are some of the questions that are frequently asked. 

What is a quality culture?

A quality culture is one that pursues continuous improvement across all the organization's activities through a program of operational excellence. Operational excellence is about executing the business's strategy more efficiently, consistently and reliably than its competitors. 

What role does EHS play in a quality culture?

EHS is fundamental to a quality culture. Companies that have a poor approach to safety or environmental issues often suffer from poor standards in other areas. Employees can't produce quality goods while working in an unsafe environment, for example. 

What does a strong EHS culture look like?

In this culture everyone takes responsibility for EHS, proactively working to identify and correct unsafe behaviors. There is positive attitude towards risk management and compliance with control processes as well as the capacity to learn from accidents, near-misses and key performance indicators to drive continual improvement. 

Why is automation important to a strong EHS culture?

EHS is moving beyond baseline compliance to a risk-based approach where incidents are prevented, rather than contained. Prevention is much cheaper and effective, yet it depends on a robust dataset which helps predict which hazards are the most serious and most likely to occur, so they become easier to control. Automation captures all EHS data into a central repository, which can then be analyzed to make sound predictions. 

What role does leadership play in a developing your EHS culture?

Strong leadership is essential. It goes beyond commitment from senior management to ensuring different levels of the workforce are engaged, especially among influential people who can champion the culture and encourage better attitudes and behaviors. 

Why should an EHS culture address employee wellbeing?

Poor employee wellbeing can cost an organization more over an extended period than safety incidents due to ill health, absenteeism, poor retention and low productivity. A risk-based EHS culture focuses on preventing problems and improving outcomes, so it will address employee wellbeing if indicators reveal that it is poor. 

What are the benefits of managing safety and sustainability under the same system?

As a single system operating from shared data, it would create opportunities for uncovering process deficiencies while providing a unified framework for tracking related processes. Consolidating this information would deliver an expanded dataset, which would open up predictive insights and connections drawn from seemingly unrelated events. 

Why would a quality culture seek to converge quality and EHS systems?

Examining larger connections between processes is crucial to operational excellence as it seeks further efficiencies. Quality and EHS are closely linked, where a problem detected in one system may well have its root cause in the other. In a single-platform HSEQ, both functions share the same data, providing greater visibility. 

How is it possible to converge Quality and EHS if they both manage different outcomes?

Quality and EHS share the same core functions – document management and control, risk management, audit, preventative actions, incident management and centralized reporting. This means that it is possible to eliminate these redundancies by managing them through the same system. Also, the ISO standards which govern them have been harmonized, so they share common requirements, including a risk-based approach. Convergence is a natural progression from this. 

What first steps should an organization take when implementing an HSEQ system?

a. Ensure quality and EHS are already collaborating before introducing the technology.

b. Involve senior management – they must believe convergence can drive value into the organization and help improve business performance.

c. Demonstrate value to stakeholders – you need to show that operating under a common framework will benefit as much of the organization as possible.

d. Automate – this will enable the people and the process to move smoothly, more productively and more efficiently. 

Find out more about the key processes and innovations that will help you build a sustainable quality culture by downloading our free EHS handbook The Environmental Health and Safety Handbook: Supporting a Quality Culture Across Your Business

The Environmental Health and Safety Handbook: Supporting a Quality Culture Across Your Business

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Sean Salvas
Written by Sean Salvas
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